Fighting fire with satire seems to be the approach of Iraqi state television in producing a comedy series aimed to make fun of, and reduce people's fear of, Islamic State.
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But the trailer for the "State of Superstition" program caused enough controversy to prompt the producers to reshoot it, reports say.
In light of Islamic State's massive show of violence through its videos of beheadings, the show was designed to "remove this phobia that has taken root in a lot of people’s minds," the program's chief supervisor, Thaer Jiyad, told AFP.
The trailer for the show involves a cowboy, who leads a group of Islamic fighters and introduces the devil and his bride, a Jewish woman. The woman is greeted by another woman in a green pantsuit, who AFP reports is probably based on Qatar's first lady, Sheikha Mozah.
Participants in the party include, inexplicably, the Joker from "Batman" and Dracula.
The devil and his bride, who wears a Star of David, give birth (via an egg) to someone who appears to be based on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He's the head of Islamic State, which is trying to form a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. (The program's title is a play on the Arabic word for "caliphate," AFP reports.)
This Baghdadi is then shown leading a choir, made up of officers from Saddam Hussein's former Ba'ath Party, who repeat, "Where are you, oh beheader?" according to Memri's translation. The trailer finishes with Baghdadi shooting everyone present and the room going up in an explosion and fire.
The trailer is based, reports say, on the belief among Iraqis that the CIA, Israel and the Gulf states created Islamic State. But as the U.S. and Gulf countries are now leading the charge against Islamic State, the producers had to quickly reshoot the trailer, removing the American cowboy and the Qatari character, the Washington Postreported.